DMK president M. Karunanidhi on Saturday rejected an allegation by Chief Minister Jayalalithaa that the DMK government did nothing to retrieve Katchatheevu, an island ceded to Sri Lanka in 1974.
Ms. Jayalalithaa, while speaking in a resolution demanding retrieval of the island in the Assembly on Friday, had charged that as Chief Minister, Mr. Karunanidhi had done little to stop the Centre from ceding the island to Sri Lanka despite having prior knowledge of the Union government’s move.
“I called an all-parting meeting on June 29, 1974. But the AIADMK refused to sign the resolution on Katchatheevu,” the DMK leader said in a statement.
Mr. Karunanidhi also recalled his letter to the Prime Minister Indira Gandhi expressing his disappointment then. When the DMK was back in power in 2006, a resolution was adopted in the Assembly urging India to take steps to get back Katchatheevu.
“But Ms. Jayalalithaa wrote a letter to the then Prime Minister Vajapayee, suggesting that a best possible solution is to get Katchatheevu and the adjacent seas on lease in perpetuity solely for fishing, drying of nets and pilgrimage,” he said.
He also claimed that in a 1994 letter to P V Narasimha Rao, who was then Prime Minister, Ms. Jayalalithaa justified the ceding of the island, saying “ceding of this tiny island to the island nation had been done by the Government of India in the interest of better bilateral relations.”